Disaster averted: my favorite rug survived the plumbing snafu. I’m choosing to focus on gratitude for a salvaged rug rather than the giant hole in our basement floor.
What a week for playing with energy. Brian and I made a decision to shift down in our expenditures. Following Christmas, a wedding, a vacation, a baptism and a preschool tuition payment, we wanted to take 30 days to chill on spending and, you know, just get caught up. So, like, no major purchases or anything, ok, Babe? And be careful at Target if you go…
I believe Brian’s energy in the money-management conversation was easy, straightforward and practical. I, however, went to my extra-loaded mental space about money. Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’ve been spending so carelessly lately, I mean, I didn’t need that necklace at Target, and now we don’t have any money, and it’s all my fault and I better cancel that date we have planned in a couple weeks so we don’t have to pay a sitter and I must figure out how to stop this freak out I’m having because it feels horrible and it’s definitely not helping the situation, but what am I supposed to do—it’s what I know? And, as we just discussed, we’re desperate for money. AAAAAAHHHHH!!!! Cue the tears.
Whoa, girl. I went off the deep end of my own neuroses, inventing a crisis where none existed. And I rode that trail, no pulling back on any reins. Right on time, just when I fearfully cross over into the land of scarcity…
1. The dishwasher stops working right after a dinner party. (While taking apart the dishwasher, our repairman finds a stick—from a tree—lodged in the pump.)
2. The sink next to the washing machine overflows, flooding part of the basement floor, which includes a section of my favorite rug. (The rug is ok now, not to worry.)
3. While routing the basement pipe that leads to the catch basin, the plumber encounters something that bends his router, which emerges covered in mud, so he deduces an underground pipe has collapsed and needs to be replaced. And then he jackhammers our basement floor to reveal a pipe the diameter of an adult head, almost completely clogged with 100 years of dense gunk. And dog hair. (I hope you never have to see this.)
Sliding doors removed, washer and dryer relocated, the plumber jackhammered his heart out.
Even my friend, who heard the jackhammery commotion from another house, texted to say, “it sounds expensive over there,” which made me laugh. She was right. But somewhere in the days between my conversation with Brian, the interior monologue meltdown, the three-feet-long Home Depot parts receipt on my kitchen counter and the check I wrote yesterday, it didn’t feel expensive anymore.
My sweet husband disagrees with me on this, but I feel like I’m responsible for bringing this on all at once—not the actual occurrences, but the timing of them. In essence, everything we process consciously, subconsciously or unconsciously, from physical sensations and material objects to words and thoughts, is energy. At its base level, that’s all stuff actually is. Energy. Even scientists can agree on that. And if you’ve ever had a coach, you’ve probably been told something to the effect of “You’ll get out of it what you put into it.” That’s how it works with a workout, for example, and that’s how it works with the universe, too.
So, when I put the energy of fear and scarcity out there regarding my finances, what comes back to me? Proof of my own fear. More things that take money away from me. An ancient, horrifying clog blocking the flow of water in a giant, important pipe. (How’s that for a metaphor?)
Now that we have water flowing freely again, and a smooth patch of new cement marking the removal of a pipe that was no longer of service to us, I’m noting my own routing, repairing and reinvention in this process.
As such, when I wrote that check to Bradley the plumber, it actually felt good. I thanked him for coming over at 9 p.m., for staying till he’d figured everything out, for taking a little more than 24 hours to complete such a ginormous job, for reuniting me with our washing machine, for mopping the floor to perfection and for being so generally delightful to our whole family. I was so grateful to have a prompt, eager, hardworking, delightful plumber to solve our problem. When facing the effects of a fear-and-scarcity mentality, I find love and gratitude is the most medicinal cocktail.
Affirmations also are helpful. Here are a few crafted by the luminous Allyson File, creator of Feeding Sparrows, a site dedicated to sharing the magic of affirmations with kids and families. “I love this one,” she says of the first below. “When feelings of lack or worry creep in my body and make me feel yucky, this affirmation makes me feel fresh and good again.” I concur. Here are some of her faves, and she says them often. Starting now, I will be saying them, too. (See here for Allyson’s tips on using affirmations.)
- I pay my bills with love as I know abundance flows freely through me.
- Life is full of abundance therefore, I accept all the abundance that comes my way.
- My income is always increasing.
- I am always supplied with whatever I need.
- I prosper wherever I turn.
- I am open to new avenues of income.
- I rejoice in what I already have and know that abundance is all around me.
I’ll take this as a sign, Mr. Plumber Graffiti Writer, and I thank you. (I accept all the abundance that comes my way.)
As Bradley the plumber and his sidekick were leaving, I asked the sidekick if he, too, had been working in plumbing since he was 14. “Nah,” Bradley said. “Onik is a writer.”
“You’re a writer? Me, too!” I exclaimed.
“I guarantee you don’t write like Onik does,” Bradley declared.
“Uhh, I’m sure you’re right,” I responded. “So, what kind of writing do you do?”
“Lemme show you,” Onik literally hopped over to me and opened up a photo on his phone.
It was a giant mural, painted in the style we urban mommies would call “graffiti.” And it was awesome.
We have an old, tilting garage that opens up on our alley in Chicago, and I’ve been looking for a graffiti artist to beautify it for literally years. (I totally don’t get it—why don’t I know more graffiti writers? I mean…don’t they hang out at coffee shops, wine bars and preschool playgrounds?)
For some unknown reason, the plight of graffiti writers (and I’m not referring to the gang-bangers who tag stuff all over my neighborhood) really gets me. Maybe my graffiti passion is rooted in that lovely old boyfriend sitting me down to watch “Basquiat” more than a decade ago, but I want these urban artists to have a canvas for their self-expression, and I get all concerned that there’s not enough opportunity for them to legally create. I want to give them an endless array of concrete walls and plywood boards and underpasses and viaducts and, frankly, my garage door, so that they can express themselves.
After gushing to Onik about his work, and confessing my long-held desire to have our garage door written upon, and admitting I probably couldn’t afford him, he enthusiastically offered to paint it for me for the cost of the spray paint.
Although I seem to be in the business of commissioning original art these days, I was not aware I had the budget for it.
Thank you, Universe.
(Stay tuned for summer, at which point, as a result of all this clearing and recalibrating, I should have piles of wealth and one sick garage.)